A question I could be shot for asking

Core Machine (Operating system/System info/Roon build number)

Roon 1.7 on macOS 10.14.6

Description Of Issue

I’ve lived happily with CDs since the 1980s. Got Roon because I want to explore better sound quality.

Blushing and hiding, I ask: is there any way at all in which I can ‘rip’ my collection of several thousand Classical (from plainchant to contemporary) music (SA)CDs onto my ‘Late 2014’ iMac for use with Roon and actually gain in sound and audio quality, please?

I know I can change the file format - I have the software to ‘convert’, say, MP3 to FLAC.

But isn’t it the case that if the quality just isn’t there on CDs, I can’t get anything better out?

Thanks in advance.

The very first thing that needs to be said is that the quality absolutely is there on well recorded CD’s. So the question is ‘have you heard this improvement of SACD over CD’ in your own system and what gear are you using to achieve this?

1 Like

Unless your CD player is really paltry…
So - when you rip and play through a decent DAC it could be better.

1 Like

@Henry_McLeod - thanks!

Yes, I can hear better SQ with SACDs.

Oppo BDP-103 into Parasound P6 + A23 into Martin Logan Aeons.

Now with Roon: Dragonfly Cobalt DAC into Sennheiser HD 800 S; and the Parasound.

I know that ripping even a dozen a day CDs is a huge task. So if I embark upon it, and transfer everything into FLAC for Roon, I want to be sure I’ll hear the difference.

If not, the point would only be the convenience of not having to walk across the room to the CD player :slight_smile: .

You would need equipment to convert the SACDs to computer files. dbpoweramp or a similar ripping program would be able to handle the CD to Flac conversions. The below link offers a service who rips SACD and CDs, but if you have the time, CDs are pretty easy to rip. I had Golden Ear Digital rip 50 SACDs for me a few years ago.

I wouldn’t expect a significant improvement converting CD to Flac, but much of the performance will depend on what equipment you are using for playback. I use playback equipment designed for computer music file playback. It also has a CD attachment.

1 Like

Thanks, @Lonek

My CD player is actually good - although probably obsolete: Oppo BDP-103 into Parasound P6 + A23 into Martin Logan Aeons.

For Roon : Dragonfly Cobalt DAC into Sennheiser HD 800 S.

The first rule has always been that there are no idiotic questions, only idiots who don’t ask questions :wink:

Yes and no.

Yes you can rip your physical media, and have it handled by Roon and integrated to a great streaming service for even more great music.

Now, SQ-wise, let’s start with the bad news:

You probably can’t gain anything audible from ripping. In many cases, you can gain the assurance that your rip is absolutely perfect. It isn’t much, but it’s already better than any CD player can do (because on a computer, the data extraction from the disk isn’t real time, so it can go back and fix what needs to be fixed).

Here’s the good news (but you’re going down the rabbit hole):

What Roon can do that is very audible is help you with room correction. This, if it is well done, will significantly improve the sound of your entire collection.

There are caveats:

a) you’re either going to face a fairly steep learning curve or going to have to pay someone to make the correction for you.

b) you’re going to have to measure your room with a special microphone

c) once your room is measured, no more moving furniture around.

That isn’t a good idea: the information that was lost in converting to .mp3 can’t be retrieved by re-converting to .flac. Please rip your CDs straight to .flac, or another lossless codec.


Do you own a standalone DAC? I have an (Oppo UDP-203) and while it offers good performance, there are some DACs out there which are a clear step up. The UDP-203 is also a Roon Ready endpoint.

A good start would be to rip the CD files to Flac, and continue use of your OPPO to handle SACD duty. Not sure how many SACDs you would want to covert to .dsf.

1 Like

I suspect a mismatch in terms of the Cobalt into the 800S. Can you feed Roon into your main system for direct comparisons?

Thanks for those two possibilities, @rrwwss52.

I wasn’t aware of dBpoweramp. Would you say it’s superior to XLD, please? If so, I’ll give it a try.

The thought of shipping CDs is appealing to save time - at $5 each.

Much appreciated!

I haven’t used XLD, but dbpoweramp is very easy to use. The CDs are simple to rip. The SACDs require special equipment. CDs take around 10 minutes each. If you have a lot of older CDs you many want to invest in a tagging program that has matching metadata. Bliss and SongKong are a couple floating around. I am using SongKong at the moment. SongKong offers discounts on this forum page from time to time.

1 Like

Thank you, @Xekomi.

I felt sure this question would have been asked here many times - although my search produced no definitive answers.

== snip ==

Can and does ripping software do that? Great to know.

Then I’d have to follow the procedure you allude to re audio environment. Presumably that applies to my existing setup?

Got it: definitely rip straight to FLAC. That’s what I’ve bee doing with XLD.

Again - very helpful. Thanks!


Yes, the Dragonfly Cobalt.

That is a good idea, Yes. Makes very good sense.

Far fewer than CDs. But your suggestion of sticking with a dedicated SACD player is a good one. Thanks…

@rrwwss52 - Yes. I use Yate.

In addition to the excellent advice provided by @Xekomi I’ll add just a couple of things (related mostly to SACDs, not CDs):

  1. I’ll emphasize again the suggestion to rip only to lossless! In my case I rip SACDs to DSF.

  2. A website and thread explaining how to do this is: https://hifihaven.org/index.php?threads/rip-sacd-with-a-blu-ray-player.3652/ The equipment needed can be purchased for under $50. For me the process explained there has become quite automated. But I didn’t start with thousands of SACDs!

  3. Another thread on that site discusses merits/demerits of converting from DSF to other (lossless!) formats: https://hifihaven.org/index.php?threads/dsd-playback-options.4142/

  4. Roon will play DSF just fine.



I wondered about that too: spoke by phone at length with the tech depts. of both AudioQuest and Sennheiser. Their assurances - fortunately - were good. Work beautifully together.

I could also feed Cobalt into the P6, Yes.

And yours, @otinkyad!

Those leads very helpful… all new to me.

I suspect - as @rrwwss52 suggests - that I really should leave my SACDs alone, at least to start with. And concentrate on ripping as many CDs as I can to FLAC directly.

Very much appreciated :slight_smile: .

I wouldn’t bother with FLAC for 16/44 - it was useful when HDD space was expensive, but it’s so cheap now i use AIFF - it’s essentially WAV but with decent metadata

I’d also check the likes of Tidal etc to see what overlap there is with your current collection - ripping only those that are not available (and that you actually listen to) - especially if you’re considering paying to have them ripped. The point being it’d be far more cost effective to subscribe - and give you access to more music

Streaming can offer very good SQ, I’d anticipate far better than your OPPO, which while very good is old tech (I still use my ‘83 as a video source and it’s fine)

I moved from a Mark Levinson Ref 31.5/360S to PC (heavily modified) because it was better and from that to an SOtM streamer - because it was better - for local and streamed sources


1 Like

Thanks, Andy.

The exercise of aggregating all my music (collected over 40 years - with LPs and cassettes before that, of course) in one place is really one of convenience. And Roon is excellent, as I’m finding out… new user.

I have a Primephonic subscription. But also many older CDs which may not be there; and to which I do listen.

When you say what you do about the old tech OPPO, I suppose it brings up another question: whether to consider replacing it, or rip, rip rip!

Much appreciated…

I would second this.